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Saturdays at the Café

Saturdays at the Café - Body

Saturdays at the Café is a weekly feature hosted here to talk about and discuss the books I’ve discovered during the past week, added to my shelf and am excited about reading. They may be new/scheduled releases I’ve seen on NetGalley, at the library, or from publishers or they may be older titles my friends have reviewed and shared on Goodreads or blogs.


Hard Edge

Gabriela Marquez came to her parents’ homeland of Venezuela to help its people. Working undercover for the CIA as Sister María, a Franciscan nun, she spends long days at the mission, giving food to the poor, helping the sick—and keeping a close watch on local drug trafficking. When a violent raid makes her a hostage together with two American journalists, she finds herself the prisoner of the very cartel she’s been spying on. Fortunately for the journalists—but not so luckily for her captors—Sister María is not what she seems to be. Hiding behind her nun’s habit, Gabriela puts her training to use to ensure the hostages’ survival.

Dylan Cruz spent the better part of a decade with Seal Team Six, ridding the world of scum. Now an operative with Cobra International Security, he’s sent to Venezuela with a small team to gather intel for a hostage rescue. Against all expectations, he gets valuable information from one of the hostages—a beautiful young nun. Sister María of the Gorgeous Brown Eyes puts R-rated thoughts in his mind, thoughts he has no business thinking. Then again, he always figured he’d end up in hell.

When the rescue fails, Dylan finds himself trapped in hostile territory with lovely Sister María. Together, they go underground to reach the Colombian border, but Sister María is full of secrets—and enticing surprises. Beneath that shapeless, gray habit is a woman whose abilities—and passions—are a match for Dylan’s. As the desire between them ignites, what should have been a straightforward mission of evade-and-escape turns into a fight for survival against a murderous cartel boss who wants them both dead.

This is the 4th book in a series I’m hopelessly addicted to!

 


I Was Told It Would Get Easier

Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica and Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–and two familiar enemies–Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever.

Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra featured this as a book she added to her shelf last week. On the heels of my wonderful reading experience with the author’s most recent book, I added it immediately. I’m hoping to get this for audio review in June when it’s released.

 


Crazy Stupid Romance

A hacktivist and a cat café owner decode the friend zone in this romantic comedy from the author of Undercover Bromance.

Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan.

Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush.

Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.

As soon as I noticed the author had added another book to this series, I signed up! I’m hoping to get this one for audio review, too.

 


The Marriage Game

A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

I saw this on NetGalley and loved the description. Of course, I’m holding out for the audiobook for review.

 


The Book of Lost Secrets

In her distinctive voice, Lisa Wingate brings to life startling stories from actual “Lost Friends” advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold off.

Louisiana, 1875 In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia’s former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.

Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt–until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.

This was offered for audio review and I initially was going to pass but too many of my Goodreads friends rated it five stars so I went for it.

 


Conjure Women

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.

Another book offered for audio review that I wasn’t sure about until one of my extremely picky Goodreads friends rated it five stars, her only book with that rating so far this year. I couldn’t pass this up.

 


Don’t Look for Me

In Wendy Walker’s thrilling novel Don’t Look for Me, the greatest risk isn’t running away. It’s running out of time.

The car abandoned miles from home.

The note found at a nearby hotel.

The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together.

They called it a “walk away.”

It happens all the time.

Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over.

But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?

I didn’t even know Walker had a new book scheduled for release! Thanks to Marialyce @ yayareads for her wonderful review. Of course, I want it on audio.

 


The End of Her

In upstate New York, Stephanie and Patrick are adjusting to life with their colicky twin babies. The girls are a handful, but Stephanie doesn’t mind being a stay-at-home mom, taking care of them while Patrick does the nine to five to pay the bills.

When a woman from Patrick’s past drops in on them unexpectedly, raising questions about his late first wife, Stephanie supports her husband wholeheartedly. She knows the car accident all those many years ago was just that–an accident. But Erica is persistent, and now she’s threatening to go to the police.

Patrick is afraid his job–and his reputation–will be at risk if he doesn’t put an end to Erica’s questioning immediately. And when the police start digging, Stephanie’s trust in her husband begins to falter and Patrick is primed to lose everything he loves. As their marriage crumbles, Stephanie feels herself coming unglued, and soon she isn’t sure what–or who–to believe. Now the most important thing is to protect her girls, but at what cost?

Thanks to Tina @ Reading Between the Pages for featuring this in her Look Who Has a New Book Coming Out post. The author is one of my auto reads. Another audio review hopeful.

 


Slow Burn

They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice…
After surviving a lightning strike that killed two members of her family and left both her body and mind irrevocably altered, Adeline Walker is well familiar with how quickly things can change. Thanks to her rewired brain, Adeline is gifted – or cursed – with a heightened sense of intuition, including the occasional ability to sense evil in others. Following the death of her father, she struggles to find a way forward by revisiting the past – her mother’s childhood home in Rabun County, Georgia.

But sometimes that place is a person…
Filled with quiet lakes and sparsely inhabited forests, the North Georgia Mountains seem like the perfect place for Adeline to forge a new path. However, within the space of twenty-four hours, things begin to go awry, an early-morning mishap necessitating her rescue by volunteer firefighter Sutton McCloud. Attraction sparked, their relationship begins to heat up even as Adeline’s luck seems to get worse. A string of unsettling accidents and encounters lead her to question whether the apparent black cloud over her head is simply misfortune, or something far more sinister.

One of my favorite authors has a new series! Immediately bought it as she writes great romantic suspense.

 


Cross Her Heart

They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice…
After surviving a lightning strike that killed two members of her family and left both her body and mind irrevocably altered, Adeline Walker is well familiar with how quickly things can change. Thanks to her rewired brain, Adeline is gifted – or cursed – with a heightened sense of intuition, including the occasional ability to sense evil in others. Following the death of her father, she struggles to find a way forward by revisiting the past – her mother’s childhood home in Rabun County, Georgia.

But sometimes that place is a person…
Filled with quiet lakes and sparsely inhabited forests, the North Georgia Mountains seem like the perfect place for Adeline to forge a new path. However, within the space of twenty-four hours, things begin to go awry, an early-morning mishap necessitating her rescue by volunteer firefighter Sutton McCloud. Attraction sparked, their relationship begins to heat up even as Adeline’s luck seems to get worse. A string of unsettling accidents and encounters lead her to question whether the apparent black cloud over her head is simply misfortune, or something far more sinister.

I took a pass on this when it was first offered for review. But since then, I started the author’s Mercy Kilpatrick series and now I want to read everything! Still want it on audio and will see if I can go back and get it.

 


Dance Away With Me

Run, run, as fast as you can!

When life throws her one setback too many, midwife and young widow Tess Hartsong takes off for Runaway Mountain. In this small town high in the Tennessee mountains, surrounded by nature, she hopes to outrun her heartbreak and find the solace she needs to heal.

But instead of peace and quiet, she encounters an enigmatic artist with a craving for solitude, a fairy-tale sprite with too many secrets, a helpless infant, a passel of curious teens, and a town suspicious of outsiders, especially one as headstrong as Tess. Just as headstrong, is Ian North, a difficult, gifted man with a tortured soul—a man who makes Tess question everything.

In running away to this new life, Tess wonders— Has she lost herself . . . or has she found her future?

Phillips was one of the first authors I read when I began reading romance again after a 20-year hiatus. I’ve read most of what she’s written and hope to get this for audio review when released in June.

 


The Last Agent

Betrayed by his own country and tried for treason, former spy Charles Jenkins survived an undercover Russian operation gone wrong. Exonerated, bitter, and safe, the retired family man is through with duplicitous spy games. Then he learns of a woman isolated in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison.

If it’s Paulina Ponomayova, the agent who sacrificed her life to save his, Jenkins can’t leave her behind. But there’s no guarantee it’s her. Or proof Paulina is still alive. To find out, Jenkins must return to Russia. Next move: blackmail Viktor Federov, a former Russian officer with his own ax to grind, into helping him infiltrate Lefortovo. The enemy who once pursued Jenkins across three continents is now the only man Jenkins can trust.

Every step of the way—from Moscow to Scandinavia to the open ocean—they’re hunted by a brutal Russian agent on a killer quest of his own. Out of loyalty to Paulina—dead or alive—Jenkins is putting everyone’s life on the line for a new mission that could be his last.

I loved the first book in this series and was waiting for the next. Thanks to Marialyce @ yayareads for her great review and alerting me to the next scheduled for release in September. Definitely an audio review hopeful.

 


A Madness of Sunshine

On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.

That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

I’ve read quite a few of this author’s books, all paranormal romance, so when this was offered for audio review, I balked because it is a new genre for her. But, when it showed up at my library and a number of my Goodreads friends gave it a strong thumbs up, I got in line. My number came up this week.

 


Little Cruelties

All three of the Drumm brothers were at the funeral.
Only one of us was in the coffin.

William, Brian, and Luke: three boys bound by blood but split by fate, trained from birth by their wily mother to compete for her attention. They play games, as brothers do…yet even after the Drumms escape into the world beyond their windows, those games—those little cruelties—grow more sinister, more merciless, more dangerous. And with their lives entwined like the strands of a noose, only two of the brothers will survive.

Crisply written and quickly paced, perfect for readers of both sophisticated literary fiction and breathtaking suspense, Little Cruelties gazes unflinchingly into the darkness: the darkness collecting in the corners of childhood homes, hiding beneath marriage beds, clasped in the palms of two brothers shaking hands. And it confirms Liz Nugent, whose novels have been celebrated as “captivating” (People) and “highly entertaining” (The Washington Post), as one of the most exciting, perceptive voices in contemporary fiction.

This isn’t out until September, doesn’t even have a US cover but I’m signing up now because I read everything Nugent wants to write. Another audio review hopeful.

 


 

What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

22 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. As you know I did read a few of these. :0 So happy that you added them to the ever growing list. I have read and liked A Madness of Sunshine and it was my first book by this author. All the rest look awesome as well. I added These Lost and Broken Things by Helen Fields, Playing Nice by JP Delaney, The Evening and the Morning, a prequel to Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth series.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Jonetta!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I loved a Madness of Sunshine. I enjoy Shari Lapena, Pamela Clare, Robert Dugoni and the Undercover Bromance books. I am curious about the Lisa Wingate book. I love the Civil War time period and this one sounds intriguing. So basically I want it all.

    I hope you will have a lovely, healthy week and enjoy some new reads!

    Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post   

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic group of books Jo. I have some on my TBR already, but will be checking out some others. I really enjoy Melinda Leigh’s books and they all pretty much come available on KU read/listen. Enjoy them all and good luck getting the audiobooks you want.

    Liked by 1 person

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